springwise

Springwise.com has uncovered another from their daily fix of entrepreneurial ideas…

Zlio — the ‘social commerce network’ that lets anyone set up their own web shop in a matter of minutes — just ranked in USD 4 million in funding from Mangrove Capital Partners, an early investor in Skype. So what have they been up to since featured in February? Two milestones were recently reached: 100,000 shops (from 35,000 in February) and 2.5 million visitors per month.

Shopbuilders now have over 3 million products to choose from, with sales handled by partners like Barnes & Nobles, which recently signed up as a merchant. Participating minipreneurs are earning up to USD 750 per month in commissions, by carefully selecting products, tweaking their shop’s design and promoting it everywhere they can. Shops focus on niches from Birkenstocks to Great British TV, and Gifts Under $20 to Everything Elvis.

Some users have started operating multiple boutiques, cross-promoting and buying AdWords to drive traffic to their ZlioShops. Bloggers place widgets on their websites featuring products that appeal to their audience. As explained by a shopkeeper who blogs about mediaeval re-enactments: “Instead of being an affiliate marketer for 15 different sites, and having multiple competing ad blocks on my page, I can just select the products I want to promote regardless of the store of origin. Saves me lots of time in signing up, getting approved and designing ads from the many different websites offering affiliate marketing programs.”

As both merchants and consumers become more familiar with this type of commerce, there’s room for other players in this field, especially in countries that aren’t yet covered by Zlio — Asian and South-American contenders to follow soon?

watch this space!…